Over Lockdown, we’ve been experimenting with working together over Zoom and using an artistic process that is new to us. Prompted by Juliet Prague, performer, director and coach, we have been trying out the Fluxus method, giving each other instruction sets to perform. As per the method, we don’t rehearse them in advance. Eventually we were performing our individual sets simultaneously on Zoom, with Juliet Prague as host, and recording them.
It’s a departure from our normal way of working, and so is the output!
After several weeks we’ve performed an ‘open house’ Fluxus improv in-between performances of Mountain High Valley Low in the Ramsgate Festival of Sound. Friends and strangers were invited to view the improv as it happened, rather than as an unedited film after the event:
The two instructions sets given to the performers a few hours before the filming were as follows:
Fluxus instruction set for Karen
Start on Leopold Street at top of the terrace on Royal Parade in Ramsgate harbour
Descend slope and list all the things we have lost
Cross the street and look at the harbour boats
Look up into sky
Cross your arms on your chest 3 times
Spin round and round.
Try and chase a bird
Walk along harbour front, talk about an object you’ve lost.
Go towards the Weatherspoons pub, then turn and go down to the sea.
Throw some stones into the sea.
Fluxus Instruction set for Paul
Start outside Cats in Crisis charity shop.
Go inside and explore the items for sale.
Pick up six items and whisper the word “please” to each one in turn.
Leave the shop without making a purchase.
Walk down towards Harbour Street.
Turn right down into Kings Street, and press your face against the butcher’s window. Admire the meat.
Go back to the crossroads describing the process you went through when you last donated an object to a charity shop.
Once you’re over the roundabout in the town centre,
walk down Harbour St, with your arm stretched in front of you.
Cross the road and make your way around the Wetherspoons pub, until you are on the beach.
Bury your object in the sand.
Here’s an excerpt from an early Fluxus experiment:
Here’s number 2, a different set of instructions :
Here’s number 3, again a different set of instructions. The instructions are below the video:
Karen Fluxus instructions WGO3
- (Start outside, by your front door )
- Walk along street to postbox .Hug post box twice.
- Tell us about the former appeal of becoming a Catholic while crossing road to canal entrance path/ramp
- On the path, stamp on the ground.
- Look at the sky.
- Pluck and examine a leaf.
- Close your eyes then slowly open them.
- (when repeating, walk back to postbox and start with that)
Paul Fluxus instructions WGO3
- Walk from outside of your house across the street towards the allotment/playground area in the estate opposite.
- Make the sign of the cross as soon as you’ve got to the other side of the road.
- As you walk, describe your most recent experience of vomiting.
- Stop walking before you get to the pavement at Southampton Way.
- Squat with one hand stretched in front of you, moving down on a silent count of 2, and up again on a silent count of 4. Repeat 3 more times.
- Find something interesting to explore on the ground.
- Chew an imaginary, invisible toffee.
- Make the sign of the cross.
- (If repeating the set, repeat moving back towards your house, stopping before you cross the street, and make the sign of the cross. Repeat two more times.)
And here’s number 4. See original instructions below:
WGO4 Karen instructions:
- Start at the front entrance of the Angel Building, opposite the Red Lion Pub.
- Hold your hands palm upwards, at arms’ length. Look at your left hand . Look at your right Hand
- Bring your hands together, cross your arms. Slowly Hug your self. Repeat this whole action twice.
- Describe the last time you broke something meaningful to you.
- Examine at the raised bush/flower bed in front of Angel Building.
- Close your eyes. Shake your head quickly.
- Walk to the bus stop. Read aloud the times of the buses.
- Run back to the front entrance of the Angel Building.
WGO4 Paul instructions:
- Start outside Camberwell Arts School, in the forecourt area, have a cup of takeaway coffee in your hand.
- Take off the coffee lid very carefully.
- Jog along the front of the building from left to right, trying not to spill the coffee.
- Stop and sip the coffee.
- Put the coffee lid back on.
- Listen to the glass walls of the building.
- Tell us about the last time you saw a painting that really moved you.
- Clap your hands at a bollard.
- (If starting again, this time jog from right to left across the front of the building).